Monday, March 26, 2012

Your FAQ's: "What does my insurance cover?"

The Your FAQ's titled posts are truly inspired by our patients and prospective patients. Please take the time to read these thorough explanations of the most common questions we hear in our practice.

Q: "What does my insurance cover?"               

A: This is a very common question, asked by nearly every patient before every visit! If you have dental insurance this is a very important question, because not all policies are created equally! The typical insurance plan we see covers 100% of preventative and diagnostic care, 80% of basic care (fillings & extractions) & restorations, and 50% of major care (crowns, periodontal) and reconstruction. That said, your plan could be very different. Some plans have deductibles, ranging from $50.00-$200.00.

It is the patient's responsibility to understand their benefits. To find out exactly what your plan covers, ask your employer or benefits administrator to give you this information. It should also be available to you online. At Mary T. Dooley, DDS we perform a benefits check before every appointment, so we are always able  to tell you what your copay will be. We are also able to ask for a preauthorization from your insurance company to give you a better idea of what your insurance may pay towards any larger dollar work! As an extra perk, we are also happy to give you a benefit report, just ask for a copy at your next scheduled appointment.

Finally, don't let the words "out of network" scare you. Contrary to what your insurance company may lead you to believe, you may have more coverage than you think if you go out of network. Some plans coverage is up to 100% regardless of provider participation for diagnostic and preventative care. (Diagnostic & preventative means your yearly visits with exam, x-rays and cleaning.) Remember, regular care is your best insurance! Most big problems are preventable with regular care!

Do you have a question you'd like us to answer? Submit your questions in the "reply" section here or email us at  We hope you've found this questions helpful. Be sure to check our website for a list of other frequently asked questions!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Your FAQ's: "Why can't you tell me how much it will cost?"

The Your FAQ's titled posts are truely inspired by our patients and prospective patients. Please take the time to read these thorough explanations of the most common questions we hear in our practice.

Q: "Why can't you tell me how much it will cost?"   

A: This  is one of the first and most common questions we get in our dental practice. We see a wide variety of patients, from those needing routine diagnostic and preventative care (cleanings, exams and x-rays) to fillings and crowns to multiple extractions and implant supported dentures. Most simply put, if you haven't been a patient and therefore do not have information including x-rays and a history on file with us, we don't really know that you need the root canal you're calling to get a price about. Most people have heard the doctor's oath "first do no harm." The idea is the same here, meaning we cannot diagnose any condition over the phone, or without having seen it first hand.
    Here's another example, let's say you're considering dentures. Without an exam and x-rays (and in some cases a CAT scan) it is nearly impossible to know if your jaw will support dentures. Each denture is custom crafted with state-of-the-art technology to give patients the best fit and most durable wear possible. We work hard to give you as many options as possible to perfect your smile, including choosing the color, shape and size of your new teeth.
     Our final example concerns crowns and veneers. Much like dentures, each is custom made especially for you, the individual patient. We need to know which tooth is being restored, where on the tooth is the restoration needed? What kind of materials will be used? We adress these concerns during your exam. We also address variables behind the scenes, for instance, does the patient have insurance? How much will insurance cover? Is there a deductible? What benefits has the patient used this year? We research these kinds of questions for you and are always happy to do so!
     Patients requiring extensive dental care get what we call a treatment plan, a thorough explanation of necessity and cost after an exam and all other pertient information has been reviewed. While this may require an additional visit, it is the best way to gurantee you're getting exactly what you need.
      If you're considering having elective procedures, understand most are not covered by insurance. This is why we offer consultations. Consultations are your opportunity to learn about your options and are a very wise investment in your time.

Hopefully this FAQ is helpful! Please submit your burning questions to or post them in a reply and we will be happy to address them!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Trip to Richmond

     On January 20th, 2012, members of  the Virginia Dental Association visited state legislators at the general assembly, to discuss current issues pertaining to dentistry, and our own Dr. Mary Dooley was there.
Dr. Dooley (seated) visited the state capital with fellow
VB area dental professionals Dr. Rod Rogge,
Dr. Mike Fernandez and others.
       VDA members visited with their respective representatives of the House and Senate. Many dentists spoke to their concerns potential budget cuts  would eliminate almost all of the 25 public health dentist positions in the state. Most legislators were not aware how this would impact emergency rooms and patient morbidity in Virginia.
     In related news, we are proud to announce that Dr. Dooley is now the Chairperson of the Dental Benefits Committee for the Virginia Dental Association. Dr. Dooley's goal is to help make insurance companies more accountable to patients and better disclose information before signing patient contracts for benefits. The new title is the latest in a line of elected positions she has held. Dr. Dooley is also the current Treasurer for the Tidewater Dental Association. For more than 100 years, the TDA has promoted the highest levels of oral health for the community of Tidewater by providing support and educational opportunities for dental professionals in our area.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Dental Anxiety Alleviated

     Anxiety is becoming a common problem throughout the country. A common anxiety issue is the fear of visiting the family dentist. The fear of the dentist is a major stumbling block for many people. This anxiety prevents healthy, intelligent, rational people from taking care of their teeth from fear of the drill or other dental treatments.

    However, the key to good oral health is prevention or stopping issues before they arise. But, when people who suffer from dental anxiety they don’t want to visit the dentist for cleaning or when a problem occurs. When they finally do go, a small preventable problem is usually a larger problem which intensifies their anxiety even more.

    Some people call this dental phobia. Most good family dentists know how to work with people of all ages that suffer from a dental phobia. Coincidentally, most dental phobics started with their anxiety due to an uncaring dentist or a bad experience with another dental attendant.

How do you overcome dental anxiety?
The answer is easy – get back to the dentist – a good one. Here are some things to consider when you search for a good dentist.
  • Highly competent.
  • Tries to make treatments pain free.
  • Cares about you.
  • Has good communication skills to nurture you through bad experiences from the past.
     If you don’t know where to find a good dentist, the best place to ask is a family member or a friend. You are the consumer and it is the dentist who should be selling a service – you have the right to the best treatment available for you and your family. We will help you overcome your anxiety with a caring and nurturing staff and environment. Make yourself at home, bring an I-pod, your favorite book, something that makes you comfortable. We know it's the little touches that put us all at ease!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Whitening Secrets & Tips!

       This is the time of year when we want to look and feel our best! Spring is one of the most popular times to gather together with people and enjoy time outside & around town. You’ll be smiling quite a bit. Want to have a bright, white smile?
      We offer all types of cosmetic dental treatments such as professional teeth whitening. However, you may want to know some ideas on keeping them white at home. Aside from brushing your teeth and avoiding foods and beverages known to stain such as coffee and red wine, here are strange but true trivia on dental care that you may not have thought of.

Use a straw: If you must have teeth stain-causing drinks like tea, cola or something else, be sure to use a straw. It helps the drink bypass the teeth and gums and cuts down on your chances for dingy teeth.
Avoid swimming often. You wouldn’t think of this but swim at your own risk: swimming regularly in pool water can cause stains. Funny to think this but the chemicals used to clean pools can lead to a condition known as swimmers’ calculus that leaves brown stains on teeth. You will need to see a family dentist to remove it.
Chewing on fingernails. Habitual nail chewers damage more than their cuticles; they can damage their teeth, too. If you have weakened enamel, you end up with an exposed, dented, soft area in the center of the tooth. As weird as it seems, the denting is much softer than the enamel and if exposed to bad habits such as chewing nails, using your teeth as a tool to open things, it will wear down. Brittle enamel is very prone to chipping resulting in making the teeth look very unattractive.

      Of course, if you hare struggling with yellow teeth and want to show-off a beautiful smile, give us a call at 757-486-4880 or schedule an appointment online. We have a options that will make your teeth shine like the beach on a beautiful summer day!